Case conceptualization is critical for successful counseling, allowing the therapist to make intentional interventions. Despite the importance of case conceptualization, little research has been conducted in group counseling. In the present study 12 master group therapists who are Board Certified by the American Board of Professional Psychology participated in a semi-structured telephone interview about case conceptualization in group counseling. Participant ages ranged from 43-89 years old (Mean=68.26 years, Median =70 years). Four major research questions were examined: (1) What constitutes conceptualization of group counseling? (2) What process or strategies do master group therapists use in conceptualizing group counseling? (3) How do master group therapists conceptualize the multiple levels of relationship in group counseling? (4) What are the similarities and differences in conceptualization between individual counseling and group counseling? The interviews were analyzed by a research team of three researchers, employing a modified version of Consensual Qualitative Research (CQR; Hill, et al, 1997; Hill et al., 2005). Four Domains and 19 Categories were extracted from data. From the data, four domains emerged: Group Functioning, Individual Functioning, Integration of Multiple Interaction Levels, and Conceptualization Process/Strategies. The current study found master group therapists in this study conceptualized group counseling focusing on group functioning and individual functioning. Their conceptualization was highly integrative, emphasizing the relations among the three interaction levels (the individual, interpersonal, and group-as-a-whole level). Master group therapists also emphasized openness in perceiving data, the skill to keep track of what is happening in the group, and the ability to use themselves in the conceptualization process. Major findings, study strengths and limitations, and implications are discussed.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. August 2013. Major: Educational Psychology. Advisor: Dr. Thomas Skovholt. 1 computer file (PDF); vii, 150 pages, appendices A-E.
A qualitative investigation of master group therapists' case conceptualization of group counseling.
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